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The Great Resignation & Burnout - Can CMOs be spared?

By Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO at Adverity

January 27 2022 - It seems no industry is immune to the Great Resignation with employees continuing to leave work in significant numbers. Up to 41% of the global workforce is considering moving jobs within the next year and the marketing industry is no exception. A survey from MarketerHire showed that a shocking 60% of marketers were planning a job switch in 2021. We have seen this play out with top talent leaving businesses en masse. The result is that morale has sunk, productivity has plummeted and the only thing on the up? The workload! But, there is another way ...

The Perfect Storm Emerges

With such drastic numbers of vacancies, the Great Resignation is leaving those who stay in their roles hurt and burnt out. Other factors piling on the pressure and creating the perfect storm for marketers include reduced budgets and cost-cutting, and increased market uncertainty - and thatís not even half of it! Yet itís not the time to despair. When we can no longer work harder, we must work smarter.

As a society, we are on the edge of commercial space exploration and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. Yet, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) still rely on gut feel to promote these 21st-century innovations as they are still relying on outdated marketing practices that prevent them from proving that their campaigns are working. All while facing unprecedented market and consumer behaviour changes spurred by the pandemic with increased homeworking and ongoing travel restrictions doing little other than dampening creativity.

New Adverity research shows 38% are not able to measure their campaignsí Return on Investment (ROI). The findings speak to a worrying state of play, showing that large numbers of CMOs are flying blind when it comes to planning and delivering their campaigns - as they face the pressure of demonstrating the ROI.

As marketing spend continues to climb back to pre-pandemic levels, the ability to demonstrate the value of multi-million-dollar campaigns, especially around high spend fixtures in the retail calendar like Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas. The inability of marketers to demonstrate the value of campaign budgets to the business may not only hurt their ability to secure future budgets but could also impact the perception of their performance by the wider business. Coronavirus accelerated digital-first behaviours virtually overnight giving rise to new customer service expectations and the demand for increased personalisation at every level. Opportunity knocks for the savvy marketer who understands how target audiences are digesting and interacting with campaigns. This approach will be vital in working out if the campaignís really delivering the umph needed.

The Drivers of Distrust

34% of CMOs donít trust their marketing data. A number that rises to 41% among their data analyst colleagues - posing a new challenge for the C-suite charged with driving marketing results. This divide in trust only gets bigger the more senior you go, which should cause significant alarm for any business trying to make informed, strategic decisions and make trust the centrepiece of company culture.

One of the most likely causes of the distrust in marketing data and the number one challenge cited by both marketers and data analysts (42%) is the time being wasted on manually wrangling data. At the C-level, this jumps to 54%.

Modern marketing canít afford to wait three weeks for someone to sift through a spreadsheet. By manually wrangling data, businesses not only open themselves up to human error and inefficiency but also commit themselves to a reactive strategy. Playing catch-up and firefighting doesnít allow businesses to up their brand innovation and brand confidence game. Those who cannot keep up with the evolution or arenít willing to embrace the new ways of working will ultimately be left behind. Moving away from manually wrangling data is the first step to becoming a data-driven business.

This trust divide between colleagues and time-wasted on data wrangling culminates to create the perfect storm of challenges confronting marketers. Is it any wonder then that the CMO tenure is now the shortest in history at barely over 25 months while that of CEOs continues to rise? Could this lack of reliable marketing data lead to the CMOsí diminishing influence in the boardroom, or the ability to have the ear of the CEO/CFO whilst unable to prove marketing effectiveness?

Getting Impact Back

Looking forward through 2022, businesses need strategies in place to better understand and analyse their marketing campaigns so that they pack a greater punch. Finding ways to get to grips with the pain points of the Great Resignation and ways to reinspire and re-engage marketeers is going to be essential for progress.

Businesses need to invest in their campaign reporting capabilities. Our research shows that respondents who already have strong campaign reporting are three times more likely to be strong at audience-building and targeting and delivering personalized content and customer experiences.

Strong campaign reporting capabilities make for happy, return customers. Those who have it are also three times more likely to re-invest in its vis-a-vis businesses that said they still need to improve. Meaning that the divide between those who are garnering greater insights from their reports and those who are not is only widening.

Ultimately, navigating the Great Resignation goes back to what inspires marketers and CMOs as people. They want to do meaningful work that matters. For data analysts, the work needs to avoid overwhelming them with the always-on Ďurgentí manual and, ultimately, soul-destroying data wrangling.

Marketeers aspire to craft, create and continue making consumers the centerpiece of their companyís universe. Young marketers who are more data savvy want to be working with the right tools in a vibrant and exciting environment, not in a labourious and outdated system. Marketers and data analysts want to show the value of what they are doing for their work and without the right tools, there is no way to prove it. Getting the marketing data under control is a first step to rebuilding marketing teams in the new normal.

The new research is available in full here

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